Mikaela Pearson: Vocals (second from left)
Former projects: Caledonia, Invisible Cities, Spiderlily
Influences: Pretenders, Velvet Underground, Portishead, Kate Bush
Theodora Michaels: Bass, Backing Vocals (far left)
Former projects: Shrieking Violets, Ultraviolet
Influences: Alice Cooper, various pop-punk bands, Beach Boys
Kevin Michaels: Guitar (second from right)
Influences: KISS, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Lou Reed, Sonic
Robert Lacyk: Drums, Percussion (far right)
Former projects: Caledonia, Various NYC punk bands
Influences: Beatles, Siouxsie, Damned, Budgie, Keith Moon
CURSE is a band from New York that play rock with a strong pop
sensibility and a dark edge. Formed in Spring 2000, with influences
ranging from the Ramones and Velvet Underground to Siouxsie, Janis
Joplin and Tom Waits, CURSE's deep rock is full
of passion and good, solid playing.
The band's live shows quickly led to a serious buzz around town.
Before CURSE even had a demo recording, they were asked to play at
Irving Plaza as part of the prestigious Convergence Festival. Several
more gigs followed, including some benefit and showcase performances,
until the band attracted the attention of noted producer
(Sonic Youth, Swans, Helmet, Nick Cave) and began recording in August 2001. The
resulting self-titled debut CD is dark and melodic, with intricate
vocals and a heavy, rhythmic groove. Of special note are the songs
"Tattooed Rain", which was chosen for the Lollipop Magazine
compilations #57 and #58, and "Graveyard Shuffle," a
barrelhouse-style tune with special guests (composer and
beat-generation musician) David Amram and (guitar guru)
Marc Ribot laying down some mighty tasty stylings atop CURSE's solid grooves.
CURSE's songs are a gateway to hidden realms, creating an atmosphere
that draws the listener into a vibrant soundscape of image, motif, lyric
and melody. Many of the songs are centered around occult, historical and
mystical themes such as New Orleans Vodou, The Rites of Eleusis, and the
myths of Dionysios, Orpheus and Isis. The music reflects this,
incorporating traditional chants and rhythmic patterns that create and
enhance the mood of each song.
CURSE creates spontaneously in the studio, which allows the music to
evolve organically, free from any one person's idea of what it should
sound like. This requires that each band member listen carefully to the
others, resulting in some very intricate and interesting music.
Guitarist Kevin Michaels says, "We wanted to capture our live sound
on the CD, so we recorded everything live in the studio, with minimal
overdubs. Of course, Wharton was very accustomed to recording this way,
as he produced those great Sonic Youth records."
Lyrics are also central to the CURSE philosophy: there's always a deeper
meaning behind the words and the way they fit together. Vocalist Mikaela
Pearson has had extensive training in many spiritual and shamanic
traditions, which is often reflected in the words she writes and sings.
"Gris-Gris" features an authentic Vodou chant/invocation, sung
by Mikaela and Bassist/Vocalist Theodora Michaels. The songs
"Maenads" and "Luna" are about ecstatic pagan rites.
This is conveyed not only in the vocals/lyrics, but also by the hypnotic
rhythm laid down by Theodora and Rob.
In addition to their debut album, CURSE has also released a CD single
of the Beat-Generation classic, "Pull My Daisy" with special
guests David Amram and Marc Ribot.